masahiro tanakaAs you no doubt now know, the Rakuten Golden Eagles have decided to allow 25-year-old ace Masahiro Tanaka to come to the United States. The team that signs him will owe Rakuten a $20 million posting fee, but, outside of that, Tanaka is free to sign with any team in MLB. Mark Feinsand reports that the posting will begin today, and the entire process must be concluded by January 24.

Before turning to the actual news and rumors at the outset of the Tanaka chase, I want to discuss the Chicago Cubs’ involvement in the process at a broad level. I also want to be very clear about how likely, or unlikely, the Cubs are to actually sign Tanaka.

The Cubs may have had Tanaka earmarked as their top offseason target since day one. The Cubs may have been squirreling away birthday money and searching in couches for quarters for a year just to save enough money for Tanaka. The Cubs may be set to put on a full-court blitz in selling Tanaka on Chicago and the team. The Cubs may do everything a team can possibly do to land a guy, including offering the most money, and they still might not get him.

In fact, it’s far more likely than not that the Cubs will not get Tanaka.

Even if you believed that the Cubs had a better chance than any other team in baseball to land Tanaka – a stretch – you’re still not going to say that they’ve got a better than 50% chance. That means, even the most optimistic among you should have the Cubs as more likely to fail to get Tanaka than to land him. That’s simply the reality of having many, many interested teams. Although the Cubs are now frequently mentioned as primary suitors, even in national reports, you also regularly see the Yankees, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Angels, Mariners, Red Sox, and Rangers.

If you were spitballing some chances, you might say that the breakdown based on early rumors and perceived attractiveness of destinations is something like:

Yankees – 20%
Dodgers – 20%
Cubs – 15%
Diamondbacks – 10%
Angels – 10%
Mariners – 5%
Red Sox – 5%
Rangers – 5%
Others – 10%

That’s an 85% chance that the Cubs don’t get Tanaka, even if they really, really want to land him and are prepared to step up with a competitive offer.

The front office, assuming they’ve got the money they need, will have its salesmanship tested in this one. Chicago doesn’t offer the glitz of Los Angeles or the prestige of New York. The Cubs have sported terrible teams in recent years, and feature rapidly falling attendance. They’ve got an historic ballpark, but one that isn’t exactly friendly from a player facilities standpoint.

The Cubs will have to lean on things like the tremendous farm system, poised to bear fruit. The history of the organization and the ballpark. The dedication of the fans. The upcoming renovation. The chance to be a part of the team that finally does it. And maybe a little bit more money than the next team. Will that be enough?

Let me ask you: if you were headed to Japan to play ball, how would you choose your team? If the money were in the same ballpark, would you choose the one that everyone knows? The one with the history of winning? The one in the fantastic coastal city? The one with a stacked roster that looks like a sure winner, especially with you on the team?

There are absolutely reasons that the right kind of guy would want to come to the Cubs over the other suitors. But he’s going to have to care about a lot of things that other folks don’t seem to focus on, and he’s going to have to not care about a lot of things that just about everyone says are important.

None of this is to dampen your hopes for Tanaka, or to say that the front office has ahead of it an impossible task. Convincing guys like Tanaka – who perfectly fit The Plan – to sign on, assuming the money is there, is a huge part of their job (and I have a suspicion that they’re among the best at it). I just want to make sure, at the outset of this chase, that everyone has a realistic perspective on the Cubs’ chances here and the headwinds they face.

That doesn’t mean I’m not going to obsess about Tanaka over the course of the next month. He’s the top free agent on the market, a perfect fit for the Cubs, a player they’ve said they’ll pursue, and the kind of addition that can mark the start of something new. His story is enormously important – not only for those reasons, but also because his presence is dictating the entire pitching market right now – and I’ll be covering it closely.

(And while we’re being realistic, it’s important to remember: if the Cubs do manage to land Tanaka, he doesn’t make the team a winner in 2014. Even with Tanaka, the Cubs are probably a sub-.500 team in 2014. But they’re potentially looking much, much better for 2015 and beyond.)

  • Mrcub1958

    Well said. I wonder where his current team fit in the NPB?

  • Luke

    Failure to sign Tanaka does not mean the Cubs are not going to compete until 2016, 2017, 2025, or any other far off year either. He would be a very pitcher to have, but the success of the team and their timetable for competiveness does not depend only on him.

    • Bluz Cluz

      I completely agree. I hope the Cubs go after him, but if the price surpasses 20 mil a year, I hope they bail on the process. I’m on the other end, where I think the Cubs will be competitive this year, around .500, and Tanzania pushes them over .500. However, if the price anything more than 20 per, which is already a stupid price to pay for him, we don’t need him and can look in a different direction.

      • Bluz Cluz

        Damn auto correct on this new Galaxy update. Not Tanzania, Tanaka.

        • Oswego Chris

          Tanzania was much funnier…

    • Brett

      That’s a good point, too.

    • TK

      HOWEVER . . . Failure to land Tanaka combined with trading shark, or losing him to free agency . . . That would surely set us back a couple more years. It will be even harder to land guys like Kershaw and Sherzer (sp?), IF they even become free agents. That would leave us to depend on the SP prospects currently in our system, or trading some of our top position prospects to acquire a decent rotation. Cant in without SP. Losing BOTH of those guys . . . I just don’t see how, in the next four years, we would put together a playoff quality rotation (I mean one that would actually have a good chance at winning a playoff series) without trading off some of the position players we are depending on.

  • JB88

    Bah humbug, Mr. Scrooge. What did you buy your kids for Christmas? Saving bonds? :)

    • DarthHater

      I bet he bought them socks. Probably red or white ones. 😉

  • http://Bleachernation Peoria cubman

    All very good points, sometimes as fans we get caught up in daydreaming. I have faith the FO wii do all they can. Still I doubt we will see if in a Cubs uniform.

  • cubfanbob

    As long as the Yankees or Dodgers dont sign him I can live with what team gets him if it’s not the Cubs.

  • matthew howe

    Has anyone heard what his contract might look like? 7yrs 140 mil? Higher? Lower?I would think it would be a little lower. Just throwing out a number. Cheers.

    • DarthHater

      Matthew, if you’re going to have a Hamburgler avatar, you should be forewarned to watch out for hansman. If you try to burgle a burger from him, it’s likely to get ugly.

      • matthew howe

        Thanks for the warning.

  • salesguy

    I was wondering about this question after reading reports that Tanaka will be posted. If the cubs do sign him. Does anyone else think that maybe this forces the cubs hands in accelerating the process? What I’m saying is, if you get Tanaka, does signing someone like a Nelson Cruz suddenly become an option? I’m thinking that being competitive this year is something you would have to sell him on during negotiations. So if the cubs sign him, do the cubs throw the rebuild into high gear, or burn a year of what will be a very expensive contract, and wait for the kids?

    • Norm

      Signing Nelson Cruz should never be an option.

      • Jon

        What did he tuned down from Seattle , 75/5? What an idiot.

      • headscratchin

        I agree with NO ON CRUZ. I live in the Dallas area and hear of hi fairly often. I haven’t heard anyone here too upset that he is gone. Most say he has been going downhill for several years and the PED thing just accelerated the drop off. No thanks.

    • TK

      No. What it does is make it more likely to extend Shark, and to see Alcantara, Baez, Bryant, and Olt, possibly even Ha and Szczur this summer. It also increases the odds of a heavy Cubs presence in the FA market next winter. It makes us pursue a wildcard in 2015.

  • Patrick W.

    Reposting from another thread because I guess I’m that guy. Last time I’ll say it though so not that other guy:

    I still contend we are going to see a significant signing bonus if the Cubs sign him. Like 15-25% of the total contract. Maybe up to 30MM on 6 year 140MM contract. That up front cash might be an excellent incentive for Tanaka to sign with the Cubs.

    Maybe 30 bonus then salaries of:

    My hypothesis is that signing bonuses are considered special one-time allotments and aren’t considered payroll in the alleged payroll/revenue restrictions in the terms of the Cubs purchase.

    If Tanaka wants to play on a coast or wants to play for a more immediate contender, the Cubs are going to have to pay some premium to convince him to come to Chicago, which is obviously none of those. So if you’re payroll-payments restricted and you want to pay enough to get him, huge upfront money is your best bargaining chip.

    Lot of assumptions there. Also signing bonus could be paid out in 2years.

    • Frank

      They can throw in a t shirt that says…I’m With Lovable Losers

      • Patrick W.

        What a complete waste of your time that post was. If you have the kind of time you would just throw away on such an useless, humorless, pointless post go do something more productive. Give blood, this time of year many blood banks are way low. Perhaps you could do some dishes. Change your oil. So many other options. I would normally consider it a waste of my time to reply but I’m actually giving blood at the moment and I can only assume you need some advice on productive uses of your time.

        Go to a drive-thru and order nothing, just pay for the person behind you. Maybe somebody you could use a phone call you’ve been putting off because they aren’t easy to talk to. Have you taken out the garbage? Maybe you are confined to home or bed so send an email to your congressman with some ideas you have. Go to Spreadshirt and design a new shirt… I’m just spitballin here. Point is… what a complete waste of your time.

        • DarthHater

          When it comes right down to it, don’t we all waste a lot of time here that could be better spent doing something else? 😉

          • Patrick W.

            I don’t consider thoughtful discussion a waste of time but I get your point. At least I was doing something productive at the time. :)

        • Patrick W.

          My wife called me an idiot and said I was harsh for no reason so I apologize. She’s right

          • DarthHater

            Women. Always being reasonable and trying to get people to be nice to each other. Sheesh…

  • Blackhawks1963

    Tanaka hired Casey Close to be his agent. His impressive stable of baseball clients doesn’t include any Cubs, but it does include Kershaw and Greinke in LA and Jeter and Texiera in NY.

    I believe the Cubs badly want Tanaka. And I believe they will put their money where their mouth is. But that said I think our chances to land Tanaka are zero. He ends up with the Yankees, Dodgers or Angels. I continue to believe though that the Yankees remain the majority favorite.

    • TK

      Forget the quotation marks? I read that yesterday too.

      • DarthHater

        Q: Hi, Blackhawks! What are you having for lunch today?

        A: There are better lunch restaurants in New York, LA, and SF, than in Chicago.

  • josh ruiter

    How about this for a sales pitch:
    1. This is the only team you will step in and be the unquestioned #1 SP
    2. We will offer you more money than anyone else
    3. Because we are down and close to bringing up the young studs…you will be seen as a cornerstone of the team that brought the Cubs their first W.S. in Wrigley
    4. Because it isn’t quite as flashy or prominent as LA and NYC you will be able to make a more feasible life transition into baseball.
    5. Day one you will be the new face of the Cubs.

    So, go be paid less, be less the face of a ball club, face the media incessantly, be a #2, #3 and not be able to garner the same recognition, and go to a team to whom you are just another cog in wheel….or, come be paid more, be the face of the Cubs, have less media scrutiny, be a #1, lead a young team to the promised land, be a cornerstone piece, receive recognition and garner awards…oh and in 2-3 years the facilities will be top of the line in the league…just let us finish the b.s. with the rooftop owners – oh and that declining attendance? Season ticket holders numbers are coming back up, we are about to build a hotel next to the ballpark with a mall making it an experience not just a game, and we have the greatest fans in sports…we haven’t won in 105 years and fans still come out…imagine what will happen when you win us the W.S.!!! Come be the savior of Chi town Tanaka

    • Bluz Cluz

      Are you trying to scare him away. 😀

    • Mama Cass

      This loser strategy is akin to the 98 pound weakling asking the gorgeous homecoming queen out for a date when she has her pick of every good looking and popular star athlete in school where your sales pitch is that you will be really successful and your acne will have cleared up in 20 years.

    • cubfanbob

      Agreed and winning here would trump winning a WS anywhere else. From a far Tanaka seems like the type of person who wants a challenge and doesnt shy from being the “man” but for all we know he may prefer to be on a team where he isnt the main anchor like he would be on some of the other teams. Hopefully he gets a good sniff of the Arod circus train in NY.

    • Blackhawks1963


    • Jon

      Some people really have an extremely biased , non objective view of the Cubs. They remind me of the folks that insist the US has the best healthcare system in the world

      • DocPeterWimsey

        Hey, we are the world!

    • DarthHater


      • chrisfchi

        Always love those skits

    • TK

      One way to entice him might be to get the Rickettes’ connections to offer Cubs specific endorsements and TV/radio opportunities for him and his wife. Surely there are ways to show him that Chicago would be good for him AND his wife. Granted, every team could do things like this, but will every team consider it and actually do it? Or will they simply be focused on his pitching and their W/L record? You know these things go hand in hand with LA. The FO will have to get outside the box to land him. He’s gonna get paid wherever he plays. They need to outdo LA and NY for the “extracurriculars.” Creativity could make it happen. Straight baseball talk and money will likely not convince him.

  • woody

    Patrick, Exactly my sentiments and I said so yesterday, but not as eloquently as you. They did that with E-JAX.

    • Patrick W.

      Yeah the EJax contact is my template

  • AdamAE24

    I mean are franchises seriously willing to spend 20 million a year on a guy who has never pitched in the majors before?

    Seems goofy.

    • BenW

      I think Yu Darvish would have something to say about that. Not saying Tanaka is Darvish, but I would put Yu in the top 10-20 starters in baseball.

      • Jon

        Yu is a top 5, probably closer to top 3, starting pitcher in all of baseball

        • BenW

          I wouldn’t argue with that. I just know SP rankings can be wildly different. I would say top 5 is tough though with Fernandez, Kershaw, Scherzer, Harvey, Strasburg, Wainwright, Sale, etc all right there.

  • 70’scub

    Outside of money would he consider his spot in the rotation? Cubs #1, plus the Cubs do not need to pitch him into the ground as their season will be over in August, Dodgers #3 and as a Yankee here is the problem he might be sold as the new #1 Ace. The Yankee 1 and 2 are well past their prime productive years, they will expect to pitch him hard. Angles/Mariners/Red Sox will be players as well before they move in on the major league ready and proven free agents like Garza. I see the Tank competition as the Yankees to lose in fact this is a good fit for the Cub FO to quietly win.

  • Jon

    One of the downsides on tanking, something that the fantasy footballers just don’t get, is that it’s not always like a light switch. When you let your major league team become a laughing stock for multiple seasons, fans get turned off and yes players can get turned off

    • 70’scub

      Cubs are not a laughing stock, not every potential Cub and/or fan has thin skin. The business as the new Cub FO determined required a complete change over. Yes, part of the solution was to build a critical mass of young talent, which includes impact power arms and bats, along with establishing organizational pitching depth.

      • Jon

        Relatively terms of intangibles( outside of $$$) they are a laughing stock. The big league roster is a joke, and the park is a dump and they don’t even have a time table on renovations can start

        • Voice of Reason

          Jon typed: “Relatively terms of intangibles( outside of $$$) they are a laughing stock. The big league roster is a joke, and the park is a dump and they don’t even have a time table on renovations can start”

          First of all, they’ve been a laughing stock for over a 100 years. They have decided on a course of action to rebuild. They are doing just that. They will add veterans through trades and free agency when appropriate. They tried to “buy” a pennant over the past 10 years and where did that get them? The course they have chosen is the correct path.

          Second, the big league roster right now is a joke. And, it was a joke in 1992 and 1982 and 1972 and all sorts of years in between and beyond. Again, they have taken the right course in this rebuilding process because they tried to “buy” a pennant and it didn’t work.

          And, third, the park IS a dump. We all know it. They have the plans in place and are waiting for final approval from the city to move forward.

        • TK

          I dont think other MLB FO’s consider the Cubs organization to be a laughing stock . . . NOT ANYMORE!!!! A few years ago, yes. Not now. They are intelligent men who understand how F-ed up the Cubs WERE. They know the Cubs are very much on the right road now. And once a few of these prospects prove it at MLB, and they actually start spending significant FA $$$$, they will be . . . monstrous. People who understand MLB know this. They aren’t laughing at the Cubs. They are “preparing” for the Cubs.

  • Fastball

    I would love to see Theo pull this off. This is what he was hired to do. Attract the players needed to turn this thing around. I hate to say it but it’s time for him to deliver and this is why he gets paid a ton of money. He has done well rebuilding the farm. Now it’s time for him to display what he can do for the Major League roster. All the scrap heap guys take work to make educated guesses on but that’s what Hoyer is for. Theo won’t be viewed as a failed President if he doesn’t get this guy. But, it’s not a pelt he can hang on his wall if he fails.
    Since his odds are so poor to succeed how will he re=purpose the funds he has saved for this endeavor? Can we expect spending on some higher quality talent if this one doesn’t work out. Or does Ricketts put the money back in his wallet and continue to pay his dad back all the money he owes him.

    • DocPeterWimsey

      29 other guys are being paid to do the exact same thing. Now, the Cubs interests and resources narrow this down to probably another 10 other guys that are relevant. And fans for every team involved think that each and every one of their FO’s is supposed to get this guy.

  • Spoda17

    Good article Brett. I agree, and I know I’ve been posting this for weeks. We need to prepare ourselves on NOT getting him, and also if we don’t (depending on the facts) get him it’s not a huge failure by the FO.

  • mak

    Considering the company line of not messing up the “plan,” I’d be pretty disappointed if the Cubs are outbid — nothing you can do to force him to come here. But the books are lined up to add him for 6 or 7 years.

    If they can get him and keep Shark, their rotation is pretty good this year. If they can catch lightning in a bottle with their bullpen, and get Starlin/Rizzo to bounce back, I think it’s a .500 team. A lot of ifs.

  • half_full_beer_mug

    “I just want to make sure, at the outset of this chase, that everyone has a realistic perspective on the Cubs’ chances here and the headwinds they face.”

    I believe you have been redirected to the wrong blog kind sir. Hardly anyone here has realistic perspective on the Cubs’ anything.

  • DarthHater

    I predict that, after a couple weeks of negotiating, there will be a day-long Twitter eruption full of reports that Tanaka has signed with the Cubs, followed by an hour of confusion, followed by an announcement that he has signed with the Dodgers or Yankees. 😛

    • mjhurdle

      Twitter will report that he has signed with the Cubs, but then we will find out that he simply took the offer back to the Rakuten Eagles and gave them a chance to beat that offer, and he resigned with Rakuten :)

      • Brett

        It’s ok. The Cubs will have been negotiating concurrently with Kenta Maeda, and they’ll settle for him as a backup plan.

        • Bret Epic

          I just hope that if they’re unable to sign Tanaka, (which is likely) they end up landing Maeda and maybe Suk-min Yoon (if his health checks out). I’m genuinely curious as to who the Cubs might be able to buy low on offensively from the NPB.

  • Frank

    My crystal ball says the Cubs land Tanaka.
    The bottom of my crystal ball says it was made in China.

    • woody

      Frank, is your hangover clouding that crystal ball?

  • BobbyK

    I think a lot of the excitement about the Tanaka deal actually has to do with the overall state of the organization and not solely Tanaka. If we grab Tanaka the organization is attempting to drastically improve the team rather than these baby steps we have become accustom to. A sexy move can create a lot of excitement. I doubt the average fan knows much about Tanaka. The more knowledgeable fans think he is somewhere in the good to great range but don’t know whether to make the big investment. Taking that risk is a sign the organization wants to improve quickly. I think everyone is on board for the long term success. A move like this is a good signal to fans, current Cubs players and future FA that the Cubs are for real. The message could have just as much future effect as the actual player.

    • Brett

      As long as we don’t overestimate the impact that “name” signings have on casual fans in terms of attendance (generally, over a full season, the only thing that increases attendance is winning), then you’ve made a good point.

    • noisesquared

      Completely agree. This is the one big ticket move that they can make that aligns with the plans they’ve laid out for us. Bringing in Tanaka confirms that the FO believes the young talent is going to start showing up soon.

  • Joey

    The interactive payroll map is updated:

    Cubs currently have the 4th lowest payroll in baseball (Oakland, Miami and Houston are lower). Never thought I’d see that

    • Jon

      And 3rd highest payroll. #PoorTomRicketts

      • Jon

        Ticket prices I mean

    • Brett

      That’s a very cool graphic, but it’s missing quite a bit, including arbitration salaries, which is the big one. (Also, $13 million to Alfonso Soriano.)

  • Frank

    Can we get Bozo or Rocky and Bullwinkle to help?

    • woody

      I was thinking maybe we could convert Dennis Rodman to a baseball player. Theo could get the inside track on all the North Korean talent. Kim Jun Un would look great wearing a cubs hat.

    • DarthHater

      Perhaps Garfield Goose.

  • Canadian Cubs Fan

    Sequence Of Events Question:

    Do the suitors have to submit their max bid first, weeding out all the bidders under the $20 million, or does he negotiate with whoever he wants, then the fee gets paid after the deal is struck? I though the bids went first, but Brett’s article seems to indicate it may not work that way.

    I would hope the bidding is first, so we can see how far the Cubs are willing to go, and if they max out, which teams they’re actually up against.

    Also, is there a timeline for teams to get bids in? I know that the end of January is the goal to get the whole thing done, but not sure about the process.


  • baldtaxguy

    Nor is any one single team more-likely-than-not to land Tanaka, as your stats illustrate.

    What is controllable, given the facts of poor team performance and lack of glitz/glamour, is the “maybe a little bit more money than the next team.” You can pay your way out that deficit. And they should. I don’t see geography or team performance as an excuse for not landing him.

  • woody

    In so many ways I hope they don’t get him. But if they do he will be the one with the bulls eye on his back. Should deflect some of the fire coming at Rizzo and Castro. I’m just thinking that for the money we spend on Tank we could get at least 2 pretty good pitchers. My fear is that all the wear and tear on his arm is going to lead to TJ surgery and he’ll spend a year and a half on the side making 20 million plus. But it’s not my money. Maybe if we sign him Shark signs an extention and suddenly we have one of the better rotations in baseball. So many unknowns to contend with. With that rotation and an improved bull pen we could possibly contend for wild card if Castro and Rizzo bounce back and Junior Lake continues to prove all the naysayers wrong. The truth is if we hadn’t of had all of the blown saves last year and hadn’t come out on the wrong side of so many one run games we would have been in the hunt at the allstar break. They say pitching and defense wins championships. And who is to say that Olt doesn’t come out of ST hot and mash the ball and make an already good defense better. Or we could lose Tank and trade Shark and suck big time and earn the nunber one pick in 2015. One thing for sure I am tired of writing and ready to watch baseball.

  • Chuck Wrigley


    What, if anything, do we know about Tanaka’s personal goals, preferences, or personality? There has been a lot of speculation here about what sales pitch would appeal to him, but do we (or the FO’s) actually know?

    • Blackhawks1963

      We know a few things…

      1. He doesn’t speak English
      2. He just hired Casey Close to be his agent…his current clients include Kershaw, Greinke, Jeter and Texiera…but he has never done business with the Cubs and none of our players are represented by him.
      3. Mrs Tanaka is an emerging starlet pursuing a career in TV media and or the news.
      4. NY, LA, San Francisco and Seattle have Japanese American population bases that Chicago does not.
      5. Tanaka’s mentor with his Japanese team was current Seattle pitcher Iwakama.
      6. Ichiro and Kuroda play for the Yankees

      • DarthHater

        None of those things constitute knowledge about about Tanaka’s personal goals, preferences, or personality.

      • TK

        How do you know he doesn’t speak English? Where did this come from? English is mandatory in Japanese schools. Its all over TV, radio, and the streets. He’s from the Osaka area . . . In general, people there love America. MANY Japanese words are derived from English words, and simply slightly modified to suit the spoken sounds of Japanese and the written alphabet of katakana. Why do you say he cant speak English? Was this made known somewhere? Maybe not fluently, but I guarantee you ha can speak at least some English.

  • Blackhawks1963

    I am large Theo supporter. But I think he made a tactical mistake by publicly sending signals that the Cubs are all in on Tanaka. The pitchforks are already out as it is an not getting Tanaka is just going to make things needlessly more ugly. Let’s face it, the Cubs right now are one of the 3 or 4 worst teams in baseball and the farm system is still a couple years away from bearing serious fruit. Plus our payroll is now among the most anemic in baseball.

    Theo should have held his cards closer to the vest. My goodness.

    • mjhurdle

      Are you saying that you believe there is a chance that the Cubs don’t land Tanaka?

  • Chris

    I really don’t get why people are saying the cubs don’t have money. This is a team with not a lot of money wrapped up in any players on their current roster. It’s also a team that have soriano one of the biggest contracts ever. I don’t see a great free agency market in the next year. So, if the cubs truly believe he’s going to be a star, which is up for debate and understandable, why don’t the cubs unload money in him?

  • CubFan Paul

    “The Cubs may do everything a team can possibly do to land a guy, including offering the most money, and they still might not get him”

    When was the last time that happened?

    Yankees – They’re bluffing. Staying under $189M for 2014 is more important
    Dodgers – They already have 6 bonafied starters
    Cubs – They have the most payroll room available for $15M-$20M AAV
    Diamondbacks – Already at payroll limit. Samardzija still likely after Tanaka signs elsewhere
    Angels – They need pitching just as much as the Cubs but Skaggs & Santiago helps them save impact dollars for the Trout extension
    Mariners – Already at payroll limit. Samardzija still likely after Tanaka signs elsewhere
    Red Sox – Already have 6 starters with Webster, but do need to get younger beyond 2014
    Rangers – Already at payroll limit & are saying they’re out on Tanaka
    Others – F’n mystery teams

    • CubFan Paul

      “When was the last time that happened?”


    • Chad

      Why do you think the Mariners or D-backs are likely to get Shark? mariners have rarely if at all been connected. They are more likely to spend prospects on Price anyway if they don’t get Tanaka IMO. They are going for it, so perhaps they don’t care about the luxury tax. Don’t forget the Yanks might get $25/bonus room,m and if they don’t they might as well go for it as well. I also am not sure how likely the D-backs are anymore. What pieces do they have left that the cubs would want for Shark? Bradley is about it, and though I hope for that, I don’t know if it is likely. Big question on Red Sox is do they go after Tanaka or put that money toward a Lester extension? Interesting stuff.

      • CubFan Paul

        “Why do you think the Mariners or D-backs are likely to get Shark?”

        PAYROLL. Neither can afford Tanaka and are just waiting for the pitching dominoes to start falling (Tanaka, Garza, Price, Shark, etc) so that they can get a clear price or be comfortable with shipping off prospects for Shark or Price.

        “mariners have rarely if at all been connected”

        They were early, like everyone else, but they went on to spend just about all of their available dollars in free agency and left a hole in the rotation (DBacks also).

        “Don’t forget the Yanks”

        $189M is more valuable than to them in 2014. If they got Tanaka, the luxury tax would make him a $22M-$30M player in 2014 depending on the AAV.

        “What pieces do they have left that the cubs would want for Shark?”

        The Cubs would find a fit if Bradley headlined the package

        & The Red Sawx just don’t have room rotation wise, they would have to make a big trade. Plus De la Rosa comes back midseason